The services provided by the telecom industry form the foundation of our connected lives in the today's digital world. However, despite the demand for these services, Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are struggling to deliver an excellent customer experience, resulting in high rates of customer churn. While customer experience leaders such as Apple, Google, and Amazon enjoy a Net Promoter Score of 70-80, CSPs report an NPS as low as 3.
Communication companies have realized that optimizing customer experience needs to be a cornerstone of their business strategy. Since customer experience in telecom is multi-dimensional, the initiatives undertaken to improve customer experience also need to be multi-dimensional, addressing the different functions from customer care to network departments. I think the CSPs must also assess the relative importance of each dimension in relation to the organization's overarching customer experience improvement goals. This will ensure that dimensions that have the highest impact on organizational goals receive the highest share of focus and investment. Some of these include:
- Marketing and Sales - CSPs must be able to make the right offer through the right channel. Access to multiple service channels and a consistent experience across all channels has become a crucial determinant of customer satisfaction. Consumer behavioral insights drawn from product, channel, and usage preference data residing with CSPs can be used to significantly enhance the buying experience.
- Customer Support - Strong customer support capabilities play a crucial role in shaping customer perception.
- Brand – The CSPs' marketing messages set customer expectations for service delivery. For instance, a mismatch between advertising promises and service delivery can create dissonance in the minds of consumers – which can result in dissatisfaction and churn.
- Product and Service Portfolio - An attractive product and service portfolio strongly influences customer choices. A good product can induce customers to switch allegiances even if they are otherwise satisfied with their existing service provider.
- Billing, Charging and Cost Management – Billing issues account for a large share of customer complaints. Providing complete visibility of charged services and regular updates on cost management can positively impact customer satisfaction.
- Service Quality – Network interactions are crucial to a healthy customer relationship. Dropped calls, service disruptions and security breaches can be significant sources of discontent.
Wipro has developed a holistic framework that takes into account multiple customer experience improvement dimensions. It also proposes a mechanism for prioritization of initiatives based on customer experience impact, an improvement over the traditional approach of prioritization based only on financial impact. CSPs can use this framework to evaluate each of these areas and determine which dimensions to focus on, based on the alignment of the dimension with the overall customer experience improvement goals of the organization.